Trading is one of the most fun things to follow in sports. Seeing how teams attempt to improve or build for the future and getting to see new players in new places is a process that is always interesting to observe. Obviously college sports do not have such a system but every year when the MLB trade deadline comes along and we are preparing for the upcoming football season, the two subjects tend to blend together in my head and make me wonder who the Cincinnati Bearcats would go after if they could make trades.
Following an 11-win season, its not as if the Bearcats need a ton of help but even the most perfectly constructed contender can always add that one missing piece that leads to a championship. Here are a few deals the Bearcats might consider if trades were allowed, with only teams in the American Athletic Conference eligible to be traded with.
You’ll notice that there are only three deals this season compared with four from a year ago but that is largely because the Bearcats are not in need of as much help as they’ve been in years past. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t use any, however. Now, without further ado, let’s get to the pretend trades.
Cincinnati trades Jarell White to Houston for Keith Corbin
Although the Bearcats have a handful of wide receivers who have a great deal of star potential, they are going to miss Kahlil Lewis, who led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the last two years. With Desmond Ridder set to begin his second season under center and with the hopes that he will help make the passing game an even bigger part of the offense, he’ll need as many difference makers on the outside as possible. Enter Keith Corbin. The senior wide receiver teamed with Marquez Stevenson to form one of the more prolific pass-catching duos in the country in 2018. For his part, Corbin turned 40 receptions into 691 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards per catch in the process. Adding him to the roster would make the Bearcats even more dangerous through the air.
If the Cougars were going to part with one of their top offensive playmakers, it would make sense that they would do so to improve at linebacker. With Leroy Godfrey shifting to the defensive line and all-conference first team member and league tackler leader Austin Robinson gone along with Roman Brown, the Cougars could use a rising star like White. Losing him would be difficult but with Perry Young and Bryan Wright holding things down plus the addition Darrian Beavers and the potential rise of guys like Joel Dublanko and RJ Potts, the Bearcats could make due.
Cincinnati trades Tavion Thomas and Charles McClelland to Temple for Jovahn Fair
The Bearcats have starting caliber running backs to spare but they are in need of some proven talent up front. Obviously, Michael Warren wouldn’t be sent away after racking up 1,329 yards and 19 touchdowns last season but following promising freshman campaigns, Thomas and McClelland have shown that they can lead a rushing attack effectively. That would be attractive for Temple which will no longer benefit from the skills of Ryquell Armstead. The all-conference first team member ran for 1,098 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2018 but no other Owl even reached 300 yards. Either Thomas or McClelland could be the next feature back in North Philly.
On the other side, it might seem like the Bearcats are giving up too much for one offensive lineman but Fair is an all-conference talent who would help the program weather the storm created by the departures of multiple starters on the line. That means Temple would be asking for a lot. The Bearcats can afford such a price and not just because of Warren’s talents. Remember that 2017 leading rusher Gerrid Doaks will be back this season. With a Warren and Doaks sharing carries and Fair providing more depth up front, the Bearcats would keep running teams over.
Cincinnati trades Coby Bryant to Tulane for Cameron Sample
Here’s something you may not know. Tulane led the AAC in sacks last season with 41. Although the Bearcats also did well for themselves in this area (31), they could use some help repeating such an effort. That’s what happens when a program has to say goodbye to defensive linemen like Cortez Broughton, Marquise Copeland and Kimoni Fitz in one offseason. Although defensive end Patrick Johnson would be the best option on the Green Wave roster, after he posted 10.5 sacks last season, the Bearcats might not have enough to offer for his services. However, Sample had a solid year on the line as well, recording four sacks. Now entering his junior season, he could be even better and more productive.
Bryant was one of the best corners on UC’s roster last season and the Green Wave could use a pass defender following the departure of Donnie Lewis Jr. Bryant may not have reached the same heights as Lewis Jr., but with 11 passes defended, nine pass breakups and two interceptions last season, the proof is there that he could help the Green Wave avoid a drastic dip in production at cornerback. Meanwhile, Cam Jefferies and Arquon Bush — who impressed in last years’ regular season finale — would still give the Bearcats an effective duo at the position.